A platform for small businesses selling homemade goodies, 8pron connects foodies, whether that be chefs, food photographers, or digital marketers. The online marketplace founded in 2021 currently hosts products from SMEs, supporting their growth, and sharing a mutual love of food. The founder of 8pron, David Tan, is a third-generation Malaysian foodie and his grandparents and parents owned small restaurants.

After meeting co-founder of Networking.London, Sam Liu, at one of our networking events in April, he quickly saw the value of networking and its importance for B2B businesses like his. In a bid to improve the user experience and grow its operations and marketing efforts, 8pron is currently crowdfunding to take the business to the next level. I spoke with David about the growth of his business and his fundraising project, which aims to improve the functionality of the website for buyers and sellers. See the link at the bottom of the article to find out more about the crowdfunding project and to get involved.

“We love to promote food culture, authenticity, talents, and most of all, to connect people by sharing life's simplest joy: food.”

What opportunities does 8pron provide for small businesses on the market?

In a nutshell, we connect foodies with one another. We also create a networking space for food bloggers, photographers as well as digital advertisers. 8pron helps people’s business digital marketing too by gaining exposure for our clients. Most owners make the food themselves and we always accommodate their budget and recognise their time constraints.

Tell me a bit about your business journey.

We launched 8pron in August last year. At first, we found it hard to find customers as a new business in the market, but over time we built up a reputation and grew our client base. Now we have people coming to us!

Considering the business is only one year old, we’re getting a fair amount of engagement and have multiple online platforms to generate traffic to our website. I see my friends and family as my business partners as they help a lot and give me good advice.

I’ve always been passionate about food, having grown up with a family of chefs with their own restaurant we now have three generations in the food industry!

What is the range of companies you work with?

The companies we work with are mostly small businesses that started off baking at home and decided to start selling their products as well as some restaurants. We also have some clients who want our help with digital marketing to increase traffic to their websites.

I’ve also helped set up a client’s website through google business - English wasn’t their first language so they needed some help with this. Every business owner has their own individual needs and we try to meet them as best we can through our niche services.

8pron's website

What is unique about 8pron?

I support the idea behind the magic of easy, humble food so I decided to make 8pron as simple as it could be. Food should be simple, not overly complicated, and I believe 8pron reflects this ethos.

We guarantee the payment security of buyers and sellers by holding the money in a third-party account until the other party confirms they’ve received the product. Once the transaction is complete you can review one another and this builds a reputation for both parties - good referrals always increase the likelihood of new customers.

How important has networking been for your 8pron?

I’d say networking has been quite important to my business in terms of expanding my contacts and meeting potential clients. I met Sam Liu at one of the Networking London events a few months ago. He saw me looking slightly lost and introduced me to some business owners who were really nice and welcoming. If he hadn’t done so, I definitely wouldn't have stayed at the event long so I appreciated that.

What is most enjoyable about running the business?

I’ve always been passionate about food, having grown up with a family of chefs with their own restaurant we now have three generations in the food industry! No matter what, I always seem to come back to food. Once I started seeing some growth, it opened a lot of doors and I knew it was something worth cultivating.

My parents are business owners themselves and they tried to discourage me from starting my own business because they know how stressful it can be. I always tell them that I see it as exciting and I truly enjoy what I’m doing so it doesn’t feel so stressful for me.

See 8pron’s website here: https://www.8pron.com/

Find out more about their crowdfunding project: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/8pron-connecting-foodies#/